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Can my dog protect my chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Maria G, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. Maria G

    Maria G Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi,

    I just lost my whole flock to a fox/weasel. My mistake, since I didn't shut them in properly when it was getting dark. But it shows that the predators close to my house will seize any opportunity, and might even strike during the day.

    I would like my chickens to be able to free range in our garden, but I can't keep an eye on them at all times. So I was thinking that I could put my dog outside on a running line while the chickens enjoy themselves. Would that scare off predators? We have weasels, fox, badgers and cats in the area. My dog does not chase the chickens, so that is no worry. She is not the toughest dog (labrador), but I guess her scent/bark could be enough?

    Any experience with chicken guard dogs?

    Cheers,
    M.
     
  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm so sorry about your flock.

    A chained dog is no guard at all IMO. Predators figure out quite quickly exactly how long the line is. And no, the mere scent of a dog won't keep them away (if it did, the scent of two Mastiffs should mean I never see a raccoon or rat in my small yard and that is SOOOOO not the case).

    An automatic door might be a better idea. Then you know they're locked up at dusk.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
  3. Maria G

    Maria G Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    I will of course lock them up safely at dusk, but now I feel it is not safe for them to free range during the day either. That is when I thought the dog might come handy. If I chain her (5m running chain) close to the coop, the chickens could run back to safety if a predator comes. I don't think a fox/weasel/cat would want go that close to a dog?

    My dog often barks like a maniac at night when I let her out in the garden. I thought she was scared of the dark and saw ghosts, but I guess she is chasing off unwanted visitors...

    First I got to go from egg to chicken though - those 21 days do not go any faster when I stare at the hatching machine. 19 days left...
     
  4. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure where you live, but it's illegal in my state to chain up a dog all day long like that. Sounds pretty miserable for her honestly.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. alldembirds

    alldembirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @HighStreetCoop I have a dog that prefers a chain to being inside. on nice mornings she runs out of the house and straight to her chain, when i clip it she goes and lays in the yard and at the end of a nice day you can hardly get her back inside.

    in most states they don't have any laws against chains .
     
  6. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I guess I'd prefer a chain under those circumstances, too. But if those were my only options, I simply wouldn't have a dog.
     
  7. OnlyOrps

    OnlyOrps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have always used great pyrenees as LGDS. If your dog doesn't chase the birds why not free range her with them? She is only going to be able to patrol if she's lose. The chickens won't be bonded to her and won't run to the dog for protection but if the dog is lose she might be able to intercept the predators before they get to the birds... I've heard of people using all sorts of herding and bird dog breeds for protectino livestock. I can't say I'd be brave enough to use anything other than a all LGD breed but you know your dog better than anyone.
     
  8. Maria G

    Maria G Out Of The Brooder

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    Of course I don't plan to chain my dog outside all day alone! I am talking about a few hours now and then when I am home, but not there to look after my chickens all the time. I don't have a fence around my property, and she can wander a bit, so I can't let her be alone outside. She would have a comfortable place to rest, water and one of those cables you can string between two buildings, so that she can move as freely as possible without getting tangled. She loves being outside, but she walks down to the road, and even jumps the neighbour's fence to do naughty stuff when she is in heat, so she is not to be trusted :)

    I don't think the chickens would run to her for protection, but if I place her near the coop, I was thinking that this would keep the area around the coop safe from predators. She is a labrador from hunting lines, so not the best guard dog, but she warns us when someone enters her territory. I know she would prefer being outside to being in the house, at least for a few hours at a time when the whether is nice. I would never leave my best friend chained outside alone for hours on end!

    M.
     
  9. Suzie

    Suzie Overrun With Chickens

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    Maria G...

    What you are proposing seems sensible to me...you have a dog that does not attack chickens,,it should be there to guard from predators...

    I too have five dogs...four of them will protect my chickens from any potential predator...I do so well understand that some dogs will roam..so it is a great idea to restrict their movement ...I think it is a great idea...go for it!
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I use dogs.

    Consider electrified poultry netting or a perimeter hot-wire. Latter can keep dog on property and if properly setup can keep foxes, raccoons, oppossums, and dogs not yours out. I use both types of fencing and they make the dog's job easier.
     

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